Zombie course digests social issues

by Ashley Quintero, Staff writer

A class about zombies is helping graduate students better understand social issues such as class, gender and race.

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the class held a discussion about zombies in the context of Halloween.

Chicana and Chicano studies professor Emily Hicks teaches English 626: Zombies in Literature, Film and Video. The course allows students to participate in engaging discussions about zombies in video games, films, novels, and short stories and apply that knowledge to social issues. Students are also encouraged to share their personal background.

“What are you learning that has to do with zombies in real time?” Hicks asked the class in the discussion on Wednesday.

“It’s a reflection of pop culture,” American literature graduate student Sam Howeth answered. “This is a course on how zombies interact with American culture.”

During the semester, students use zombies metaphorically to talk about topics like consumerism, media and slavery.

Video game fanatic and English senior Tonetta Walcott said zombies represent a population that is persecuted.

“Zombies are people who are being oppressed,” Walcott said. “It can reflect on oppression based on gender or race.”

Walcott was the only undergraduate student allowed into the graduate class.

“The class description mentioned video games and I was curious on how you could talk about a topic like this in class,” Walcott said.

The topic of the class was inspired by Hicks’ son.

“He played video games his whole life,” Hicks said. “He was even studied on how he played video games. I knew that I could talk to him and that he would help me with the video game component of the class.”

The class will be available in the spring and it will be open to undergraduate students.

This is the second semester the class has been offered.

Hicks also teaches English 527, a gothic and horror class, along with English and Comparative Literature professor Phillip Serrato.

New York Times bestselling author of horror fiction, Jonathan Mayberry, will be coming to the class on Nov. 12 to lead his own discussion on Zombies. Anyone is welcomed to attend the discussion. For more information contact Hicks at marquesa@aznet.net.